Council bosses celebrate 42 years of continuous service by Pishminder – a real diamond

Pishminder Kumari with Mayor of Bedford Borough Tom Wootton and Chief Executive Laura Church

There are few people who can compare with Pishminder Kumari when it comes to being a beloved member of staff at Bedford Borough Council.

And her 42 years of continuous service were recognised by Mayor Tom Wootton and Chief Executive Laura Church, when they presented her with a plaque, chocolates, and bunch of flowers at Borough Hall.

Pishminder, who is a Democratic Services Officer, joined Bedfordshire County Council on her 18th birthday. Since then she has had more than four decades of unbroken service, first with the former county council and then Bedford Borough after the shake-up of local government in 2009. And she admits that if she had her time over, she would do it all again.

Pishminder said; “I’ve loved every bit of it working here, and the council has always been a very good and supportive employer. Even though I sometimes struggle, I don’t quit.

“I’ve always been able to continue developing myself – there weren’t the same opportunities to go to university when I was younger, but I’ve realised that I love the classroom and I’ve taken every chance I can to keep learning and will continue to do so. We never stop learning.”

Pishminder first joined the county council’s Planning department after being told about the role from a careers guidance counsellor. But she has spent most of her career in Legal and Democratic Services.

She said; “I’m probably the first member of staff that most newly-elected members get to know when they join the Council, and having built a good rapport with former councillors I still continue to keep in touch with many of them from over the decades.

“Honorary Alderman John Mingay still sends me a Christmas card every year, and Honorary Alderman Apu Bagchi jokingly asked me recently ‘Are you still here?’ but they are always glad I am at the other end of the phone.

“Then I have happy memories of people like Phyllis Gershon, who was a remarkable woman and would come to see county council staff with biscuits and tell us ‘This is for your afternoon tea’.

“It’s like a big work family here and I don’t have a bad word to say about anyone. I just enjoy helping all of my Council colleagues and the residents of Bedford Borough”

Mayor of Bedford Borough Tom Wootton said; “I can still remember when I was first elected how Pishminder took the time and effort to not just help me learn the role, but to get to know me as a person.

“Pishminder is a real diamond of a person and a true asset to the council. She’s a real asset to councillors, and she’s a real asset to residents as she helps every single one of us to do our jobs.”

Hopefully Pishminder will continue to be part of the Bedford Borough Council family for many years to come!